2012 My 10 Step Business Plan

By
Home Stager with Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA

2012 is almost here and I've decided to up my game. I've got a very lofty income goal, so I've decided to create a plan to keep me on track.

running toward the finish line

 

I intend to make more money than I did in 2011. In fact, I'd like to double my income. Not impossible, but I'm going to have to work hard for it. Without going into too much detail, I will need to stage an average of 8 homes per month, plus do 2 paid home staging consultations per week (or some combination thereof) in order to meet my goal.

 

Here's some of the tools/processes I'm going to use to implement my plan       (in no particular order):

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Create to-do lists to stay on track and help keep track of my progress. Actively use those lists - the important part.
  2. Keep better track of clients, former clients and people who have contacted me either by phone or through my website. They are all a valuable source of referrals. In order to do this, I just signed up for Highrise from 37 Signals. It's a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It will help me keep track of all my current home staging clients, past clients, and people I'd like to become clients. I can set it up to send me reminders to contact a certain individual or group every 3rd Thursday, create to-do lists for each client, etc.
  3. Send out an email newsletter regularly (1-2 times per month) and send auto-responder emails to new contacts. In a nutshell, I want to do a better job of staying top-of-mind for past, current and future clients. I am using iContact.com. I used to use Constant Contact, but they don't offer the auto-responder feature, which is important to my current plan.
  4. Make a greater effort to request clients submit reviews and testimonials to sites like Angie's List, Yelp and Google Places. Reviews (preferably positive ones:o) are a great way to win a new client's trust. 
  5. Blog more often, and in more places. My goal is a minimum of 2 blog posts per week. I've looked at my Google Analytics and can see where my website traffic is coming from. If a site is bringing me more traffic, I will post more there. I get lots of hits from ActiveRain, so expect to see more of me here. After all, there are only so many hours in a day and I want to use my time productively.
  6. Continue to refine my Los Angeles real estate staging website. I signed up for ScribeSEO. I thought I knew a lot about SEO, but Scribe is helping me to be even more effective by refining my pages and posts to further attract the search engines. Its not cheap, but since my website is where most of my business comes from, it's a worthwhile investment.
  7. Build a few of new websites, aimed at specific home staging and real estate niche markets that I want to target. I have the advantage of being co-owner of Easy Designer Websites (with Kathy Nielsen) so this is a snap for me. By the way, Easy Designer Websites builds awesome Wordpress websites for home stagers :o)
  8. Continue to look for ways to work more efficiently, on staging jobs, in marketing and when building websites for other stagers. I believe the more efficient I am, the more profitable I will be. Also, the more efficient I am at work, the more time I will have to relax, play and dream.
  9. Investigate hiring a Virtual Assistant to help me with many of the repetative tasks that plague any small business. I'd much rather be staging or marketing than writing estimates or contracts. 
  10. Add at least one more stager to my team. I'd like to add another stager that can work as an independent contractor (legally, per the IRS). Another stager means I can actively service more home owners and real estate agent clients.

(Note: The iContact and ScribeSEO links are affilate links. I use both products and recommend them highly.)

2012 is almost here. What are you going to do differently, less of or more of to increase your bottom line?

Posted by

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Los Angeles Real Estate Staging

2015 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

2014 RESA Top 10 Professional Home Stager2010 RESA Professional Stager of the Year

Michelle has staged hundreds of Los Angeles homes, many of which have sold with multiple offers, above listing price.

She works with home sellers, listing agent, builders, flippers and asset managers to prepare homes for sale throughout Los Angeles and North Orange County.

Moving Mountains Design provides vacant home staging, color consultations, corporate and executive relocations,  and interior design. We also stage model homes, REOs, foreclosures and auction properties for real estate investors and asset managers. Builders hire us to stage their models or to help move inventory when sales slow down.

For more information about our Los Angeles home staging services, contact Michelle at (626)385-8852 or by email.

Click here to see our Los Angeles home staging portfolio

Click here to go to our Los Angeles home staging blog

Click here for more information about home staging in Los Angeles and how we can help sell your home faster and for the best price

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Rainmaker
360,125
Ginger Foust
Certified Staging Professional - Oakhurst, CA
Home Stager Oakhurst CA, Dream Interior Redesign & Staging

Thanks so much for sharing your plans here Michelle.  Very informative and useful.  Bookmarking as a reference. 

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all the best for 2012!!

 

 

Dec 20, 2011 05:04 AM #11
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Same to you, Ginger! Happy Holidays!

Dec 20, 2011 05:43 AM #12
Rainmaker
120,564
Tessa Skeens
Hampton ReDesign, Home Staging and Redesign - Denver, CO
Staging For Denver Realtors, Builders

Thanks for the reminder Michelle. I think having a plan is key to success. And it's a challenge we all face, trying to be the business and do the business at the same time.

I am going to take a good look at #2 myself. I also need to find a way to keep track of referrals and past clients, and client inquiries as a continued source of revenue.

Thanks again and best wishes for a prosperous 2012!

Dec 20, 2011 06:44 AM #13
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Tessa: #2 is one of the most important steps we can take to get more from the work we have already put in. After all, we've already got their contact information. The important thing is what we do with it. Happy Holidays!

Dec 20, 2011 07:55 AM #14
Rainmaker
516,758
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

Michelle you are certainly on the right track. Organization and systems can help you meet your goal.

Dec 20, 2011 11:52 AM #15
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

David: If you want a different outcome, you have to do things differently. I want a different outcome, so I am putting some new tasks and tools in place to help me. Happy Holidays!

Dec 20, 2011 12:00 PM #16
Rainer
107,940
Heather Cook
Rooms in Bloom Staging & Design Inc. - Kitchener, ON
Quality Home Staging

Hi Michelle, your goals sound fabulous. I am going to look into that Highrise software as keeping on top of clients and continuing to build relationships with either new or existing clients is vital to any business. Here are a few of our company goals over the next year:

1) New updated inventory system to be implemented in the new year as our old one needs to be retired

2) Adding a part time administrative person to our business to handle invoicing, responding to emails, sourcing content for newsletters and blog articles so we can focus on other tasks like errr .. staging!

3) Adding a part time stager to our business to handle consultations and smaller staging projects - this may evolve into full time but currently we are just planning for part time

4) Alana is going to complete her CSP Master's program and I need to focus on completing my Interior Design program

Next year we start working on a phenomenal new project that is going to eat up a huge chunk of our time until its completed in the spring of 2013. We know we need to get the systems in place now so that our business will continue to operate smoothly.

 

Thanks for this post and sharing your goals for 2012 - as always you show that not only are you a fabulous and talented stager, you are also a consummate business woman. 

Dec 20, 2011 01:38 PM #17
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Aww Shucks, Heather. You're making me blush :o)

For inventory, I highly recommend My Darby. I've been using it for a little over 1 year and it's awesome.Tell Tammy I sent you!

I currently have a bookkeeper come in 1 day per week. I'd love to have someone to do some of the admin work, but I will probably go with a VA for now. Most things I need can be done remotely. I think it will save me some money on employment taxes and insurance.

I can't wait to hear about your "phenominal new project". Keep us posted.

Happy Holidays!

 

Dec 20, 2011 02:49 PM #18
Rainmaker
639,321
Cindy Bryant
Redesign Etc. Home Staging - Houston, TX
"Houston Home Staging Pros"

It sounds like alot of us are looking to do #2.  I need help with many of your points, my biggest push for the new year is to find a bigger building to store inventory.  I can't believe I've outgrown my space again, but it's overdue in order to work more efficiently and effectively.

Dec 21, 2011 04:19 PM #19
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Hi Cindy: I know keeping better track of past clients and people who have contacted me has not been one of my strong suits. I didn't have a system in place that was easy to keep up and provided a method for keeping track of the info I thought was important. I aim to change that this year and I hope Highrise will be the tool to help me do it. I can't even imagine having to move my inventory to a new space. Good luck to you!

Happy Holidays!

Dec 21, 2011 04:26 PM #20
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Thanks, Barb. I've created this plan, now I have to work it. I'll be using the few days off I have the rest of this year to put everything into action. I want to hit the ground running in 2012.

Best wishes to you in 2012 as well!

Dec 23, 2011 08:28 AM #22
Rainer
98,496
Tori Toth
Tori Toth, International - Howard Beach, NY
888.667.6643 NYC & Beyond, HSR, SAR, RESA, LIBOR

I'm always creating to do lists,  I use g-tasks from google on my iphone. I also use highrise, it's a great system and I use mailchimp because its combatiable with highrise and free up to 2000 contacts. Best of luck, see you in January. Great information, I'm going to look into Scribe SEO and a couple of your other pointers.

Dec 25, 2011 01:28 PM #23
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Tori: I'm glad to hear you are using Highrise. I considered MailChimp but went with iContact because of some bad online reviews of MailChimp. ScribeSEO is awesome. Let me know if you need help with it.

Happy New Year!

Dec 26, 2011 03:01 AM #24
Rainer
106,527
Marianne Cherico
Interiors by Marianne Cherico - Foxboro, MA
Home Stager -Massachusetts and Rhode Island

Michelle-

This is a great list. I am really focused on #2 this year as I think that staying in touch with past ,present and future clients is the best way to get "warm" referrals which have proven to be the best for my business!I am interested in Dan Eason's program because it is written for Home Stagers. I am curious to know what the difference is between that and High Rise.

I am so tired from Christmas-I admire your energy (lol). 

 

Hope to see you in Vegas:)

Marianne

Dec 26, 2011 04:53 AM #25
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Marianne: I don't know enough about Dan's program to comment. Last year, the number of contacts was limited to 500, I think, and that is not enough for me. I'm not sure if he changed that, but he will be at the RESA convention, so he can clarify.

I find Christmas invigorating. The lead up is tiring, but the day after I am full of renewed energy and looking forward to the new year. Also, business is a little slower so it gives me a chance to experiment with new ideas and programs.

I will be in Vegas for the convention. I'm doing a presentation on Wordpress websites. I hope to see you there, too!

Dec 26, 2011 07:51 AM #26
Rainmaker
65,077
Margaret Gehr
Chicagoland Home Staging LLC - Naperville, IL

 

Hi Michelle - Finished my own list not long ago and it’s surprising similar to yours. I also have a lofty income goal for 2012 and have broken it down to similar monthly stagings and consults. My theme is efficiency, time management, and updating structure to accommodate expansion, we have the staging part down.

I want to also thank you for all the hard work you did on my brand new

EASY DESIGNER WEBSITE! (www.chicagolandhomestaging.com) I really like it and would highly recommend you and Kathy to anyone in need of a facelift (or complete web makeover like I did!) Now I just need to work your #5 and #6!!

See forward to seeing you in Vegas!  

 

 

 

Dec 27, 2011 02:06 AM #27
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Margaret: Since you are so successful, I'm not surprised to see you are also very organized.

I'm so happy that you love your new Easy Designer website. Both Kathy and I enjoyed working on it with you and the results are phenominal.

Everyone: Check out Margaret's new home staging website ChicagolandHomeStaging.com

Dec 27, 2011 06:01 AM #28
Rainer
5,789
Martha Stanton-Smith
Rearrangements Home Staging Ltd. - Kingston, ON

Kudos for putting your business plan out here; very brave!  Looks like you are already on your way and have put some systems in place. I believe you will succeed.

For the lists, I am a big fan of David Allen's Getting Things Done System. No time to read the book? You can find out what you need to know at his website which is http://www.davidco.com/ I blogged about how I am using it on my Blackberry smartphone here http://rearrangements.ca/blog/getting-things-done-gtd-time-management/

Best wishes for 2012.

 

Dec 31, 2011 01:09 AM #29
Rainmaker
324,347
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Thank you, Martha. I plan to succeed. I'm familiar with David Allen's system. It is a great plan and I'm glad its working for you. I'll take another look at it.

Happy New Year!

Dec 31, 2011 08:42 AM #30
Rainmaker
1,471,260
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Michelle,

I'm wishing you success in 2015 and accomplish all your goals.

This is a busy year for real estate professional , I'm sure you you get a lot of homes to prepare for sale:)

Apr 17, 2015 04:39 PM #31
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Michelle Minch

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